National Diabetes Month Recap

December 3, 2013

november national diabetes monthNovember was National Diabetes Month and in honor of the conferences, fundraisers and great research that was reported on diabetes last month we’re going to recap the top tips for patients with diabetes.

Diabetes is difficult to live with. But it is doable, and definitely worth the effort. If you have diabetes, or even pre-diabetes, here are some things you can do today to start making a difference in your life. Please note, this article is intended for information purposes only, and is not intended as a substitute for medical advice from your physician or primary care provider. If you have concerns about diabetes, consult your physician immediately.

Take Charge of Your Health

You may be given advice from many different sources: online, various doctors, friends and family, but in the end, you are in charge of your own health. Whether you have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, managing your disease is up to you. Don’t make other people responsible for your health. Instead, decide today to be your own advocate, to get help when you need it, to learn all you can about your disease and its treatments from experts like your primary care provider, and to do the things necessary for you to experience good health.

Diabetes Awareness RibbonTake Your Medication

It is vital to your long-term health that you take any prescribed medications every day, even on days when you feel good and experience no symptoms. You may be taking insulin, but you may also be taking other medicines to help manage secondary problems or side effects caused by diabetes and medications. If you cannot afford the prescribed medications, it is important that you talk to your doctor or pharmacist about suitable alternatives, and ask about ways you can get lower-cost medication, such as using generic instead of brand name when possible, or finding programs that can help you cover the cost.

Diabetes Awareness RibbonEstablish a Daily Routine

Living with diabetes means that certain tasks must be accomplished every single day to ensure your continued good health. One is checking your feet daily for cuts, red spots, blisters or swelling; if you have these symptoms that do not go away in a day or two, it can indicate a more serious problem. If you notice any of these during your daily foot check, notify your doctor right away. Another important task for diabetics is brushing and flossing twice a day. Dental health is linked to diabetes; and better dental health can lead to fewer complications from diabetes. Of course, monitoring your blood sugar should be done daily, particularly around meal times. Talk with your doctor about what kinds of blood sugar numbers you should expect. You may also need to check your blood pressure, if that is a complication of your diabetes.

Diabetes Awareness RibbonManage Diet and Exercise

It is vital that you manage your diet. Avoid processed sugars whenever possible, and monitor fat intake. Limit fat intake to healthy sources, such as avocados, olive oil and seafood, particularly salmon. Increase your servings of whole foods like vegetables, fruits, and whole grains until these foods make up the base of your diet. Increase your level of activity slowly and at your own pace. Strive for the goal of 20 minutes of exercise a day. If you are already at this level, try adding in something new, like weights or a different kind of exercise to keep your body challenged and fit.

Living with diabetes is a reality for millions of Americans. Take charge of your health by deliberately managing your diabetes. This will lead you to a longer, healthier life.